Allergist/Immunologist Salaries: Are You Earning What You Deserve?

People often interchange the words “allergist” and “immunologist.”

An allergist can often fill the role of an immunologist, and an immunologist can often fill the role of an allergist.

The main difference is that allergists focus primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, while immunologists treat patients with compromised immune systems.

Though they are two separate specialties, they are so similar that they are rarely differentiated. Even their salaries are generally the same.

Immunologist/allergist salaries do vary from state to state and in different types of practice. Experience is another factor that can impact salary.

This article aims to help immunologists and allergists understand the factors that affect their earning potential so they can increase their annual salaries.

We’ll also discuss the steps physicians can take to protect their income in case of emergencies.



Average Salaries of Allergists and Immunologists

According to the 2020 Allergist Compensation Report from Medscape, the average salary for allergists and immunologists is $301,000 per year.

Of the physicians who participated in their survey, 56% feel fairly compensated for their work.

Salary.com reports a much lower average salary. Their data says that the average allergist/immunologist earns $258,532 per year, with those in the 90% percentile making $344,650 per year.

The Economic Research Institute lists the average income of allergists and immunologists as $302,854.

Comparably says that the average immunologist makes $271,966 per year. They don’t report an average income for allergists specifically.


Factors That Affect an Immunologist’s Salary

Although salary reports seem pretty consistent across the board, there are ways to increase any physician’s market value.

How much can an immunologist make?

The answer to that question is greatly dependent on these three factors:

1. Years of Experience

According to Medscape, immunologist residents earn around $69,500 before breaking into medical practice independently.

That same report shows that each year of residency increases the income of an immunologist resident incrementally.

After an immunologist completes their residency, they can start out earning on the lower spectrum of the salary range, but this number quickly rises as they gain experience.

2. Location

It makes sense that an area with a higher cost of living would offer a higher salary for immunologist jobs, but the demand in the area also comes into play.

According to ZipRecruiter, the top-paying states for immunology or allergy specialists include Minnesota, Indiana, Georgia, New Hampshire, and Nevada.

The states that offer the lowest median salary for these physicians include Rhode Island, Nebraska, Maryland, and Delaware.

Physicians in these subspecialties tend to make more in regions where the cost of living is high.

According to Salary.com, allergists and immunologists practicing in New York City earn 20% above the national average. Data from the Council for Community and Economic Research shows that New York has the highest cost of living of any city in the U.S.

In San Francisco, the second most expensive city, allergists and immunologists earn 25% above the national average.

Boston pays allergists 12% above the national average, and Washington, DC

pays 11% above the national average for immunologist jobs.

Type of Practice

When it comes to an immunologist’s potential earnings, the type of practice they work in is a huge determining factor.

Going into private practice is a career goal for many physicians. However, while this type of practice certainly has the highest earning potential, it is a risky move for newer physicians.

Private practice is best for experienced immunologists who have already gained a large client base and are ready to take on more responsibility.

According to one source, immunologists working in hospitals and the private sector have the highest potential income.

Hospitals have the biggest demand and easier placement, which makes it the best place for new immunologists.

Allergists and immunologists employed in the academic and research fields generally earn the lowest salary.

Research scientists, immunologists working in microbiology, and academic immunologists will earn less than $200,000, according to Recruiter.com.


Immunologists and Student Loan Debt

As immunologists and allergists attend medical school and earn their certification from the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, they rack up a large sum of student loan debt.

Knowing the best repayment options can make managing this financial responsibility much easier.

Our compensation specialists are trained to help immunologists and those with related jobs lift the heavy burden of student loan debt off their shoulders. They may be able to connect you with programs that can help you pay your loans back faster.

For example, those who have a direct loan or direct loan consolidation have the option to sign up for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan, which will require you to work full time for a non-profit or government organization.

This plan requires you to make 120 consecutive on-time payments over the span of ten years, after which the remaining balance is forgiven.

Income-driven repayment plans are also popular with physicians.

This category includes four options:

 

Learn more about your repayment options and talk to our team here.


Subspecialties for Immunology

Physician using stethoscope on teddy bear

While there are no official subspecialties offered in healthcare for the allergist/immunologist field, physicians can specialize in pediatric practice.

These pediatricians have the same job description as other allergists/immunologists, except they treat children instead of adults.

According to Salary.com, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology jobs offer between $158,505 to $213,938 base salary for full-time employment.


How to Negotiate Your Immunologist Employment Contract

Negotiating employment contracts is part of the employment process for any physician. Many physicians dread this process and feel like a fish out of water.

Some physicians don’t even know how to read contracts or what a contract should include.

A complete employment contract should define the expected compensation and benefits, the physician’s duties and responsibilities, and the beginning and end dates of employment.

If there are future opportunities for partnership and ownership agreements, these should be laid out in the contract, and any restrictive covenants included.

Lastly, the contract should make clear any termination terms and insurance requirements.

Due to the complexity of physician employment contracts, many physicians choose to protect themselves legally and financially through a professional contract review.

This review should be done not only when entering or renewing an employment contract but also if the compensation package is being altered or you are renegotiating a contract to continue employment.

Another situation where many fail to use contract reviews for protection is when exiting a contract or when transitioning into a partnership from an employee position.

Physicians Thrive offers a full legal and financial contract review with unlimited access to a financial planner and licensed attorney throughout your entire negotiation process.

Contact our team before signing any employment contracts.


Disability Insurance to Protect Your Salary

High-earning individuals, like immunologists, risk seeing all their hard work and years of education go down the tubes if they fail to protect their salary with disability insurance.

Many employers will offer short-term disability insurance as an employment benefit. However, since most disabilities last longer than a year and short-term disability insurance only last a few months, it is necessary to purchase a long-term disability policy for extra protection.

Before you purchase long-term disability insurance, make sure you understand the definitions included in the policy and the optional features offered.

The most important thing to look for in a disability insurance policy is the definition of disability. For example, some policies require an individual to be completely unable to work to qualify for benefits.

As a high-earning physician, not just any job will allow you to continue with the same lifestyle or even pay for your mortgage.

When shopping for disability insurance, you will want to choose a policy that offers own-occupation disability. This policy will provide benefits if you have become disabled enough to no longer practice medicine.

There are many other tips and insurance riders to be aware of when deciding which insurance policy to purchase.

This article is a quick read and can save you from buying the wrong policy. Read to the end and fill out the no-obligation form at the bottom for free insurance quotes from top disability insurance companies.

Read more: Physician’s Guide to Disability Insurance


Building a Retirement From Your Annual Salary

Smiling physician

As the years go by, no doubt immunologists and allergists look forward to retirement. If they do not financially plan for this day, however, it will never come.

Several different options are held out to immunologists to save for retirement, depending on their type of employment.

Immunologists who are not self-employed can take advantage of a tax-free 401k retirement fund. Those who work for a non-profit company will need to open a 403B plan.

Immunologists in private practice can have a 401k, but they also have other retirement savings options, such as profit sharing.

Both employed and self-employed physicians can bolster their retirement plan with a Roth IRA.

Of course, the key to smart and early retirement is to take advantage of tax-efficient planning. Learn more about your options here.

Related: What Physicians Should Know About 457B Plans


Effective Tax Planning

Unfortunately, the more money you make as an immunologist, the higher your tax burden. However, you can save thousands of dollars each year by making the right financial moves to lessen this burden.

According to Comparably, immunologists pay 35% of their annual income in taxes.

If we take the compensation data compiled in this article and round it to an easy $300,000 per year, this would make the average immunologist’s annual tax payment around $105,000.

With effective tax planning, you can lower your tax liability and even improve your retirement plan.

The tax code can be highly complicated, and planning your taxes isn’t a one-and-done process. Instead, tax planning takes years and can evolve over time.

Working with a professional can help you find the best ways to put more towards your future and less towards taxes.

Get a free tax return review from our team of professional advisors and see if you’ve been missing out on any credits, deductions, or other tax-saving strategies.

The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics predicts the job growth for all physicians to increase by four percent. However, immunologists will see an increase in demand due to the need to find cures for immune-related diseases.

As an immunologist, it would be wise to use the information above to secure the best future for yourself.

Whether you are looking to make a big move to increase your yearly salary or simply switch practice settings, you should do your utmost to negotiate the best possible employment contract.

Your yearly income should then be properly allocated and protected through the use of effective tax planning, expedient debt repayment, retirement planning, and disability insurance.

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